Constipation is unfortunately a very common occurrence among the pediatric population and chronic constipation and digestive problems can lead to several other health concerns such as stomach aches, vomiting, anxiety, and more. Resolving childhood constipation can be done with dietary changes that involve removing foods that tend to encourage constipation and replacing them with those that encourage soft bowel movements.
In my practice, I typically discuss what foods are commonly eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks and what beverages are consumed throughout the day. From there, I highlight the foods that are constipating and make a list of these foods on a separate piece of paper. Then we have a discussion regarding appropriate substitutions or alternate ways to meal plan to resolve the constipation.
Here are the most common foods that contribute to constipation:
- Grains: Grain based processed foods (bread, cereal, bagels, crackers, chips, pasta, baked goods, pastries, donuts, pancakes, waffles, etc.)
- Veggies: Potatoes
- Fruits: Apples and bananas
- Meat: red meat and pork
- Dairy: all, especially milk and cheese
Here are some ideas for food substitutions that are not constipating:
- Grains: whole cooked brown rice, quinoa, or other gluten free grain. Paleo-style processed foods made with nut, seed, or coconut flour instead of grain based flour.
- Veggies: all except potatoes. The more squishy and watery, the better (steamed cauliflower, broccoli, sweet potatoes, etc.)
- Fruits: All except apples and bananas. The more squishy and watery, the better (kiwi, peach, nectarine, pear, etc.)
- Meat: chicken, turkey, fish, venison, bison
- Dairy – NONE
For assistance in implementing some or all of these changes into your family’s life to encourage good eating and bowel habits, please contact me. I would be happy to help you create meals and snacks that the whole family will love!